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Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer who brought beloved “Sesame Street” characters Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch to life, died Sunday, according to Sesame Workshop.
Spinney died at his Connecticut home after battling dystonia, a common movement disorder. He was 85 years old.
âCaroll Spinney’s contributions to Sesame Street are endless. He not only gave us Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, he also gave a lot of himself, âSesame Street co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney said in the press release.
âWe at Sesame Workshop mourn his passing and feel immense gratitude for all he has given to Sesame Street and to children around the world. “
The legendary puppeteer was known for his “kind and loving view of the world,” giving two of the show’s most iconic characters the cheerful (and cranky) personalities viewers around the world adored.
50 years of healthy joy
Spinney announced in October 2018 that he was stepping down from roles.
For many “Sesame” fans, it was the end of an era for a man whose characters helped define their childhood.
Spinney’s five decades as beloved characters left him in the shadows, even as Big Bird and Oscar rose to fame around the world.
Big Bird visited China with Bob Hope in 1979 and even showed off his enormous dancing skills with the Rockettes and lead dancer Cynthia Gregory.
The beloved 8-foot-2-inch yellow bird was celebrated with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, celebrated in its image on a US postage stamp, and named “Living Legend” in 2000 by the Library of Congress.
Spinney was the focus of a documentary in 2014. âI Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Storyâ explored his life and the inspiration behind his creation of the Big Bird character and his decades-long collaboration with Jim Henson.
Remembering Caroll Spinney
Fans flocked to Twitter after his death in mourning and in remembrance of the happiness the puppeteer brought to people.
âBig Bird and Oscar were two of my favorite characters on Sesame Street at the time and Mr. Spinney REALLY brought them to lifeâ¦ my condolences to his family. May he rest in peace, âa Twitter user noted.
“If anyone needs me, I’ll watch Follow That Bird crying until I’m dehydrated.” Rest in peace, Mr. Spinney. Thank you for everything â, Sean Arena tweeted.
âI remember when I was a little boy learning for the first time how to cope with the mourning, death and loss of Big Bird almost 50 years ago when Mr. Hooper passed away. . I know it’s good to cry and be sad and also that the happy memories will be what will last. Thank you Mr. Spinney and Sesame Street â, Edward Grass noted on Twitter.
âHorrible news to wake up to. Rest in peace, Mr. Spinney. You have brought a lot of light into my life. I always liked Big Bird when I was a child, I sometimes saw him misunderstood and it resonated with me. He was different, but his friends didn’t love him less for that, âanother user tweeted.
Caroll Spinney, the legendary puppeteer behind beloved Sesame Street characters Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, passed away today, December 8, 2019, at the age of 85 at her home in Connecticut, after living with dystonia for a while. https://t.co/9nQ8H9iUES pic.twitter.com/8BoXn9rge3
– Sesame Workshop (@SesameWorkshop) December 8, 2019
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